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This Day in Black Sports History: February 18, 1986

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This Day in Black Sports History: February 18, 1986

In the history of the National Basketball Association (NBA), only four players have recorded a quadruple-double, which is the accumulation of double-digit number totals in four of five statistical categories—points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocked shots—in a game.

“The reason why [quadruple-double] is such a hard thing to accomplish is because it requires a player to be completely dominant on both ends of the court without being too selfish—so he can get the assists—without fouling out trying to block every shot or grab every rebound. A lot of guys can get the points, rebounds and assists, but it’s the defensive stuff that messes everybody up. You have to love defense to get a quadruple-double. There’s no way around it.”— Nate Thurmond

On Feb. 18, 1986, Alvin Cyrrale Robertson, a four-time NBA All-Star, followed in the enormous footsteps of Thurmond, by registering the second quadruple-double in league history.

While playing for the San Antonio Spurs, the multi-dimensional Robertson compiled 20 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists and 10 steals in a game against the Phoenix Suns.

Former Houston Rockets center Hakeem Olajuwon and former Spurs center David Robinson recorded quadruple-doubles in 1990 and 1994 respectively to join Thurmond and Robertson in this exclusive club.

However, what distinguished Robertson’s quadruple-double is that his came with steals as the fourth category. Thurmond (22 points, 14 rebounds 13 assists, 12 blocks), Olajuwon (18 points, 16 rebounds, 10 assists, 11 blocks) and Robinson (34 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists, 10 blocks) registered theirs with blocks as the fourth category.  

Robertson’s historic achievement was one of the highlights in a banner year for the University of Arkansas product, who was selected by the Spurs with the seventh overall pick in the 1984 NBA Draft.

By doubling his scoring output from his rookie season, and averaging 3.7 steals per game, Robertson would win the Most Improved Player Award and the Defensive Player of the Year Award for the 1985-86 season, as well as earn the first of four All-Star selections in his 11-year career.

After playing for the Spurs (1984-1989), Milwaukee Bucks (1989-1993), Detroit Pistons (1993) and the Toronto Raptors (1995-1996), Robertson retired holding the top career steals-per-game average in NBA history (2.71 spg), a record that has not been surpassed, and the record holder for the most consecutive games with a steal (105), a mark now held by New Orleans Hornets point guard Chris Paul (108).

Robertson would hang up his sneakers with career averages of 14.0 points, 5.2 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 2.7 steals per game.

And of all the legendary guards that have graced the NBA courts, such as Jerry West, Oscar Robertson, ‘Magic’ Johnson, and Michael Jordan, Robertson is the first, and last, guard to register a quadruple-double in a game.

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